SHAFAQNA – The British media regulator has awarded a license for new radio stations, including the first national radio directed to Muslims in the country.
“DAB as a whole has added a lot of additional choice on the air,” James Cridland, an expert on the UK radio industry, told Financial Times, referring to Sound Digital, a consortium of Arqiva, Bauer and UTV Media.
The news was announced on Friday when Ofcom, the UK media regulator, said it has awarded new licenses to DAB.
The decision doubles the number of commercial radio stations that are available on a nationwide basis to listeners on DAB radios.
The Sound Digital consortium has lined up 14 stations to go live in early 2016.
The British Muslim Radio is planned to broadcast Asian music and speech, with elements of Islamic content.
Along with DAB new stations, UTV Media, the owner of Talksport, plans to launch three new speech radio stations, including one focused on news and current affairs and another on business and finance.
“From the BBC’s point of view, all of a sudden they’ll have a lot more competition in speech radio,” said Cridland.
In July 2013, the British channel 4 broadcasted the Muslim call to prayer on a daily basis during the holy month of Ramadan.
A year later in June 2014, British Muslims launched a special TV channel which joined a growing number of specialized broadcasting channels targeting the growing Muslim minority.
Channels for Muslim communities in the UK are not new and have been broadcasting in the UK since 2004.
Islam Channel is one of this country’s most prominent and popular free-to-air, English language Muslim satellite channels.
Other channels like Noor TV, Peace TV and Iqra TV have a South Asian focus, with some of the content broadcast in Urdu or Bangladeshi. More recently, Shiite focused channels have also emerged like Hidayet TV and Ahlulbayt TV.